And Then There Were None
|And Then There Were None|
Cover of first edition featuring the original title, Ten Little Niggers, which was changed in the US, and at a later date in the UK to Ten Little Indians, due to the use of what would become a pejorative term in the U.S. and the British Commonwealth
|Original title||Ten Little Niggers|
|Cover artist||Stephen Bellman|
|Publisher||Collins Crime Club|
|Publication date||6 November 1939|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||256 pp (first edition, hardback) 173 pp (latest edition, hardback)|
|Preceded by||The Regatta Mystery|
|Followed by||Sad Cypress|
And Then There Were None is a detective fiction novel by Agatha Christie, first published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club on 6 November 1939 as Ten Little Niggers. The title, which referred to a British nursery rhyme, was changed to And Then There Were None for the first United States edition, and the name of the nursery rhyme was changed in the text to Ten Little Indians.
In the novel, ten people who had been complicit in the death(s) of other human beings but either escaped notice or were not subject to legal sanction, are tricked or lured into coming to an island. Although they are the only people on the island, and cannot escape due to the distance from the mainland and the inclement weather, each guest is killed in a manner seeming to parallel the deaths enumerated in the nursery rhyme.
It is Christie's best-selling novel with 100 million sales to date, making it the world's best-selling mystery ever, and one of the best-selling books of all time (Publications International lists it as 7th best-selling). The novel has been made into several films and adapted for radio.
Plot summary 
Eight people — Lawrence Wargrave, Vera Claythorne, Philip Lombard, General John Macarthur, Emily Brent, Anthony Marston, Dr. Edward Armstrong and William Blore — have been invited to a mansion on the fictional Soldier Island ("Nigger Island" in the original 1939 UK publication; "Indian Island" in the 1964 U.S. publication), which is based upon Burgh Island off the coast of Devon. Upon arriving, they are told by the butler and cook, a married couple, Thomas and Ethel Rogers, that their hosts, Mr. and Mrs Owen (Ulick Norman Owen and Una Nancy Owen) are away. Each guest finds in his or her room a framed copy of the nursery rhyme "Ten Little Soldiers" ("Niggers" or "Indians" in respective earlier editions) hanging on the wall.
The currently published, not the original, version of the rhyme is as follows:
Ten little Soldier Boys went out to dine;
Nine little Soldier Boys sat up very late;
Seven little Soldier Boys chopping up sticks;
Six little Soldier Boys playing with a hive;
Five little Soldier Boys going in for law;
Four little Soldier Boys going out to sea;
Three little Soldier Boys walking in the zoo;
Two little Soldier Boys sitting in the sun;
One little Soldier Boy left all alone;
After dinner that evening, the guests notice ten soldier boy figurines on the dining room table. During coffee, a gramophone record, turned on unknowingly by Mr. Rogers, as he had been instructed to do by his unknown employer, plays, accusing each of the ten of murder. Each guest, except Dr. Armstrong, acknowledges awareness of (and in some cases involvement with) the deaths of the persons named, but deny malice and/or legal culpability. (Dr. Armstrong, in fact, does remember operating while drunk and killing a patient many years earlier when he was a new doctor.) Marston admits he was driving drunk and killed two children, but appears more upset that he was inconvenienced when his driving license was suspended. Emily Brent only tells Vera, who later tells the other guests what happened, that Miss Brent turned out her pregnant unmarried maid, who committed suicide. Lombard, a soldier of fortune, freely admits he abandoned the indigenous men he commanded and stole their food, causing their deaths from starvation. Blore only reveals to Lombard that, as a policeman, he had helped frame an innocent man, who died in prison. The guests realize they have been tricked into coming to the island, each of them lured with something special to them, like a job opportunity or mention of a mutual acquaintance. They decide to leave the next morning; unfortunately they find they cannot leave as the boat which brought them stops arriving. (The boatman was instructed, under a pretext, not to return to the island after all the guests were delivered.) The guests are murdered one by one, each death paralleling a verse of the nursery rhyme, with one of the figurines being smashed after each murder.
The first to die is Anthony Marston, who chokes to death when his drink is poisoned with cyanide ("one choked his little self"). Although no one believes this handsome, vigorous young man committed suicide, the guests remain relatively calm. That night, Thomas Rogers notices that a figurine is missing from the dining table. Mrs. Rogers peacefully dies in her sleep that night, which Dr. Armstrong attributes to an overdose of a sleeping aid, chloral hydrate ("one overslept himself"). Rogers reports another figurine gone. The guests become more on edge. General Macarthur, who had intentionally sent a subordinate who was having an affair with the general's wife to his death during WWI, fatalistically predicts that no one will leave the island alive, and at lunch, is himself found dead from a blow to the back of his skull ("one said he'd stay there"). Finally, it cannot be denied that all three deaths were murders. Meanwhile, a third figurine has disappeared from the dining room. In growing panic, Armstrong, Blore, and Lombard search the island in vain for the murderer. Justice Wargrave, who had been accused of unfairly sending an innocent man, who had appeared before Wargrave's court charged with murder, to the gallows, establishes himself as the decisive leader of the group and asserts that one of them must be the murderer playing a sadistic game with the rest. The killer's twisted humor is evidenced by the names of their "hosts": "U.N. Owen" is a pun and a homophone for "unknown". The next morning, Rogers is missing, as is another figurine. He is found dead in the woodshed, struck in the back of the head with an axe ("one chopped himself in halves"). Later that day, Emily Brent is killed in the dining room by an injection of potassium cyanide that leaves a mark on her neck ("A bumblebee stung one"), which at first appears to be a sting from a bumble bee placed in the room. The hypodermic needle is found outside her window next to a smashed china figurine. The five remaining people, Armstrong, Wargrave, Lombard, Claythorne, and Blore, appear to become increasingly frightened and paranoid as the noose tightens, both psychologically and in reality.
Wargrave suggests they lock up any potential weapons, including Armstrong's medical equipment and the judge's own sleeping pills. Lombard admits to bringing a revolver to the island, but immediately discovers it has gone missing. Resolved to keep the killer from catching anyone alone, they gather in the drawing room and only leave one at a time. Vera goes up to her room and is frightened by a strand of seaweed hanging on a hook in her bedroom in the dark: an allusion to the boy the gramophone alleged that she had drowned. Her screams attract the attention of Blore, Lombard, and Armstrong, who rush to her aid. When they return to the drawing room, they find Wargrave in a mockery of a judicial wig and gown with a gunshot wound in his forehead ("one got into Chancery"). Armstrong confirms the death, and they lay Wargrave's body in his room and cover it with a sheet. Shortly afterward, Lombard discovers his revolver has been returned.
That night, Blore hears someone sneaking out of the house. He and Lombard investigate and, discovering Armstrong missing, assume the doctor is the killer. In the morning, after eating breakfast, the remaining three decide to stay in the safe open space of the beach, trying to signal the mainland. Blore returns to the house for food and does not return. Vera and Lombard discover his body on the terrace under Vera's bedroom window, his skull crushed by a bear-shaped clock ("a big bear hugged one"). This confirms their belief that Armstrong is the killer until they come across the doctor's body, which washed up between two rocks, drowned ("a red herring swallowed one"). Paranoid, each assumes the other is the murderer, ignoring logic, i.e. that neither could have killed Blore. In the brief, tense standoff, Vera feigns compassion and gets Lombard to help her move Armstrong's body away from the water, actually using the opportunity to pick his revolver from his pocket. Lombard nears her to try to disarm her and defuse the situation, but she shoots him through the heart on the beach ("Two little Soldier boys playing with a gun/One shot the other and then there was One").
She returns to the presumably empty house, although she observes that it doesn't feel like an empty house. She decides not to eat anything and thinks about the impending arrival of help from the mainland. In her room she finds a noose and chair waiting for her, hanging from the ugly ceiling hook that she first noticed when she arrived. Disoriented and in an apparent trance, she hangs herself, kicking the chair out from underneath her, thus fulfilling the final verse of the rhyme ("he went and hanged himself, and then there were none").
Inspector Maine, the detective in charge of the Soldier Island case, discusses the mystery with his Assistant Commissioner, Sir Thomas Legge, at Scotland Yard. There are no clues in the seaside town of Sticklehaven — Isaac Morris (mentioned to be responsible for crimes unprovable by the law), the man who arranged "U.N. Owen's" purchase of the island and sent the invitational letters, covered his tracks quite well, and coincidentally died the day the party set sail. Times of death cannot be found by autopsies. According to Inspector Maine, Morris instructed the town not to take any notice for help, but Fred Naracott, the man who ferried the guests to the island, overrode these orders and sent a boat to the island as soon as the weather allowed, upon hearing of the SOS signals.
Various diary entries from the other guests imply that Marston, Mrs. Rogers, Macarthur, Rogers, Brent and Wargrave were the first six to die, but the police are unable to determine the order in which Blore, Lombard, Vera and Armstrong were killed. Armstrong's body was laid out above where any tide would've possibly taken it; Lombard was found on the beach, a large distance from where the revolver that shot him was found; Lombard's pistol has Vera fingerprints and the clock that killed Blore comes from Vera's room, which would point to Vera as the guilty party if it weren't for the fact that the chair she kicked over to hang herself was found righted against the wall; and Blore couldn't have dropped the clock on himself. This means that after Blore, Lombard, Vera and Armstrong were all dead, someone was alive on the island. Inclement weather, combined with the fact that Fred Narracott (the man who ferried the guests to the island) sent a boat to the island as soon as weather allowed (who sensed something to be amiss from the beginning based on the odd assortment of guests and their demeanor), would have prevented the murderer from leaving or arriving separately from the guests: he or she must have been among them. But since the first six murders at least appear to be accounted for, and the other four victims cannot have been the last ones alive, the inspectors are ultimately left dumbfounded, asking themselves: "Who killed them?"
A fishing trawler finds a letter in a bottle off the Devon coast; it contains the confession of the late Justice Wargrave. He reveals a lifelong sadistic temperament juxtaposed uneasily with a fierce sense of justice: he wanted to torture, terrify, and kill, but could never justify harming an innocent person. As a judge, he directed merciless jury instructions, summations and guilty verdicts, but solely in those cases in which he had satisfied himself of the guilt of the defendant(s), thrilling at the sight of the convicted person crippled with fear, facing impending imprisonment and death. He also saved those defendants whom he was convinced were innocent. But the proxy of the bench was unsatisfying: Wargrave longed to commit murder by his own hand. Prompted to action by a diagnosis of terminal illness, he sought out those who had caused the deaths of others but managed to escape justice, finding nine (not including Isaac Morris), whom he lured to the island using his financial resources to investigate his victims' backgrounds to come up with plausible invitations from sources they trusted or from their acquaintances.
After the phonograph accusations were made the first night, he carefully watched, as he had in the courtroom for so many years, the reactions of his guests to the accusations. Seeing their fear or anxiety, he was certain of their guilt. He decided to start with the less serious offenders (i.e. Marston, whom Wargrave determined was "amoral" and had committed the crime by accident; and Mrs. Rogers, who had been dominated by her husband), and to save "the prolonged mental strain and fear" for the more cold-blooded killers.
Wargrave arrived at the island with two drugs: potassium cyanide and chloral hydrate. After the gramophone recital, Wargrave slipped cyanide and chloral into the drinks of Marston and Mrs. Rogers respectively while everyone was still reeling from the accusations. Marston choked to death almost instantly, and Mrs. Rogers was given another sleep medication, leading to death by overdose. The next day, after Macarthur made his fatalistic prediction, Wargrave sneaked up and killed him. The next morning, he killed Rogers in the woodshed as he was cutting firewood. During breakfast, he slipped the rest of his chloral into Miss Brent's coffee to sedate her, and after she was abandoned at the table, Wargrave injected her with the last of his cyanide using Armstrong's syringe.
Having disposed of his first five victims, the judge persuaded the trusting Armstrong to fake Wargrave's own death, "the red herring", under the pretext that it would rattle or unnerve the "real murderer". Since Armstrong was the only person who would closely examine the judge's body, as well as having done preliminary autopsies for the other victims up to that point, the ruse went undetected. That night, he met Armstrong on the cliffs and distracted him by pretending to see something, pushing him into the sea. In killing the doctor, whose body temporarily disappeared until it washed up on the beach that fateful afternoon, Wargrave accomplished three goals: exacting punishment, removing a dupe whose elimination was required for the scheme to be successful, and provoking the others' suspicions that Armstrong was the murderer. From Vera's room, Wargrave later pushed the stone bear-shaped clock onto Blore, crushing his skull. After watching Vera shoot Lombard, he then set up a noose and a chair in her bedroom in the belief that after having just killed Lombard, she was in a psychologically post-traumatic state and would hang herself under the right circumstances, i.e. a noose and chair waiting for her. He was right and watched (unseen in the shadows) as she hanged herself. Wargrave then pushed the chair she had stood on against the wall, wrote his missive/confession, put the letter in a bottle, and tossed it out to sea. Wargrave admits to a "pitiful human" craving for recognition that he had not initially counted on. Even if his letter is not found, he believes there are three clues which implicate him, although he surmises (correctly) that the mystery will not have been solved:
- Wargrave was the only one invited to the island who had not wrongfully caused someone's death; Despite public speculation at the time, Seton was, in fact, guilty of the murder for which he had been convicted, and overwhelming proof emerged after his death confirming this. (When questioned about the accusation made against him after the gramophone recital, Wargrave actually told the truth when he acknowledged that he "executed a guilty man", but said it coldly and unconvincingly, knowing the others would not believe him and consider him as guilty as anyone else.) Thus, ironically, the only innocent guest must be the murderer.
- The "red herring" line in the poem suggests that Armstrong was tricked into his death by someone he trusted. Of the remaining guests, Justice Wargrave is the one who would be far more likely than any of the others to inspire him with confidence.
- The red mark on Wargrave's forehead received from shooting himself is similar to the one God bestowed upon Cain as punishment for killing his brother Abel. He says the brand of Cain might lead the investigators to realize he was the murderer.
Wargrave describes how he planned to kill himself: he will loop an elastic cord through the gun, tying one end of the cord to his eyeglasses, and looping the other around the doorknob to his room. He will then wrap a handkerchief around the handle of the gun and shoot himself in the head. His body will fall back as though laid there by the other guests whilst the gun's recoil will send it to the doorknob and out into the hallway, roughly where Vera dropped it while she walked to her room, detaching the cord and pulling the door closed. The cord will dangle innocuously from his glasses, and the stray handkerchief should not arouse suspicion, and Wargrave (correctly) predicts that times of death chronologically cannot be ordered by the time the bodies are examined. Thus the police will find ten dead bodies and an unsolvable mystery on Soldier Island.
The following details of the characters are based on the original novel. Backstories, backgrounds and names vary with differing international adaptations, based on the rules, censorship, cultural norms, etc.
- Anthony James "Tony" Marston, a rich, arrogant, good-looking man with a well-proportioned body, crisp hair, tanned face and blue eyes known for his reckless driving. Mr. Owen accused Anthony of running over and killing two young children (John and Lucy Combes) while drunk, for which he felt no remorse. He was the first victim, choking to death on potassium cyanide slipped into his drink while Marston was gathered in the drawing room with the others listening to the fateful recording on the gramophone.
- Mrs. Ethel Rogers, the cook and Mr. Rogers's wife. She is described as a pale-faced, ghostlike woman with shifty light eyes, who appears to be in a state of fear. She obliged her dominating husband with assisting in speeding up the death of their former employer, an elderly spinster, Miss Jennifer Brady, by withholding the elderly woman's medicine to collect an inheritance they knew she had left them in her will. Mrs. Rogers was haunted by the crime for the rest of her life, and was Owen's second victim, dying in her sleep peacefully from an overdose of chloral hydrate, ironically freeing her from her guilt and fear-ridden existence.
- General John Gordon Macarthur, a retired World War I war hero, who sent his late wife's lover (a younger officer named Arthur Richmond) to his death by assigning him to a mission where it was practically guaranteed he would not survive. Leslie Macarthur had mistakenly put the wrong letters in the envelopes on one occasion when she wrote to both men at the same time. The general fatalistically accepts that no one will leave the island alive, which he tells Vera. Shortly thereafter, he is bludgeoned while sitting along the shore.
- Thomas Rogers, the butler and Mrs. Rogers's husband. He and his weak-willed wife killed their former elderly employer by withholding her medicine, causing the woman to die from heart failure, in order to inherit the money she had bequeathed them in her will. He was struck in the head with an axe as he cut firewood in the woodshed.
- Emily Caroline Brent, a rigid, repressed elderly spinster of harsh moralistic principles, largely unable to show compassion or understanding for others. She accepted the vacation on Soldier Island largely due to financial constraints. She dismissed her young maid, Beatrice Taylor, for becoming pregnant out of wedlock. As a result, Beatrice, who had already been rejected by her parents for the same reason, committed suicide by drowning herself in a river, which Miss Brent considered to be an even worse sin. She refuses to discuss the matter with the gentlemen, stating "There is no question of defence. I have always acted in accordance with the dictates of my conscience. I have nothing with which to reproach myself." She later confides what happended with Vera, who later tells the other guests moments before Miss Brent is discovered dead. At first Miss Brent is sedated with chloral hydrate in her coffee, leaving her disoriented. Left alone in the kitchen she is vulnerable and injected in the neck with potassium cyanide via hypodermic syringe (the "bee sting"). Shortly before her own murder, she has a lurid daydream about Beatrice and imagines hearing the girl's footsteps (they are actually the footsteps of the murderer), indicating a subconscious if inchoate sense of guilt over her harsh treatment of the girl.
- Dr. Edward George Armstrong, a Harley Street doctor, responsible for the death of a patient, Louisa Mary Clees, after he operated on her while drunk. Armstrong was pushed off a cliff into the sea. His body goes missing for awhile, leading others to believe he is the killer, but his corpse washes ashore at the end of the novel, leading to the climax.
- William Henry Blore, a retired police inspector and now a private investigator, accused of falsifying his testimony in court and sending an innocent man, James Landor, to life imprisonment after he accepted a bribe from a crime gang, the Purcell Gang. Landor died in prison. Blore arrives using the alias "Davis" and claiming to have arrived from South Africa, as he was instructed to do by Isaac Morris, who hired him to do "security" work, but is confronted about his true name which was revealed on the gramophone recording, and he acknowledges his true identity. He denies the accusation against him from the gramophone recording but later privately admits the truth to Lombard. Blore's skull was crushed by a bear-shaped clock dropped from Vera's bedroom window onto the terrace below.
- Philip Lombard, a soldier of fortune. Literally down to his last square meal, he comes to the island with a loaded revolver, as advised to do by Isaac Morris. Lombard is accused of causing the deaths of natives of an East-African tribe after he stole their food, leaving them to starve. He, along with Marston, are the only guests to openly and immediately confirm that the accusations against them are true; neither feels remorse. Lombard fulfilled the ninth referenced verse of the rhyme, shot to death on the beach by Vera, who believed him to be the murderer.
- Vera Elizabeth Claythorne, a cool, efficient, resourceful teacher, secretary, and ex-governess, who has taken mostly secretarial jobs since her last job as a governess ended in the death of her charge, Cyril Hamilton, whom she intentionally allowed to swim out to sea as he had continually wanted to do, and drown so the man she loved, Cyril's uncle Hugo Hamilton, could become the family heir, inherit the estate and marry her, which had been their original plan before Cyril's birth changed things. She swam out to sea to "save" Cyril in order to make it look like an accident, knowing she would not arrive in time. The plan backfired as Hugo abandoned her when he somehow realized what she had done. Of all the "guests", Vera has suffered the most for her crime, yet endures the most intense psychological torment, being the last survivor, although she never feels genuine remorse over the death of Cyril Hamilton, recalling the child as "whiny" and "spoiled", and her complicity in which she only acknowledges to Lombard shortly before their own deaths. After shooting Lombard in what she believed was self-defense, she returns to the house, relieved that she has survived, thinking about impending rescue from the mainland. When she goes to her room, she finds a readied noose, complete with chair beneath it, suspended from a hook hanging from the ceiling, which she noticed when she first arrived. In a post-traumatic state, she climbs the chair, adjusts the noose round her neck, and kicks the chair away, apparently fulfilling the rhyme's final verse ("One little Soldier Boy left all alone; He went out and hanged himself and then there were none").
- Justice Lawrence John Wargrave, a retired judge, known as a "hanging judge" for liberally awarding the death penalty in different murder cases. He is suspected of murder due to his summation and jury directions during the trial of an accused murderer named Edward Seton, who had made a good impression and was widely believed to be innocent of the murder of which he was accused. Wargrave is discovered in the end to be the murderer on the island, although he is actually the only one innocent of the charge against him, as Seton was later discovered to have actually been guilty. Wargrave fakes his own death with a "gunshot wound" on his forehead with Armstrong's help, creating an enormous red herring that fools everyone, except his dupe, Armstrong, whom he kills. After Vera hangs herself, Wargrave shoots himself using a complicated wire contraption that averts suspicion.
- Sir Thomas Legge and Inspector Maine, two detectives who discuss the case in the epilogue of the book.
- Isaac Morris, a man hired by Mr. Owen who purchases the island, tells the townspeople to ignore distress signals for a week, arranges for the financially desperate Lombard to come to the island armed, and meet Owen for a later payment of 100 guineas (105 GBP) to Lombard. Like the guests on the island, Morris is responsible for someone's death. Through his narcotics dealings, he caused the addiction and suicide of a young woman, who just happened to be the daughter of friends of Justice Wargrave. The detectives discuss the death of Morris, from an overdose of medication, as does Wargrave's confession. Manipulated by his hypochondria, and to help with his "gastric juices", Morris trusted "Mr. Owen" (Wargrave) sufficiently to accept the latter's lethal cocktail of pills, assured they would improve his health. Morris is actually the first victim chronologically, dying before Marston.
- Fred Narracott, the boatman who delivered the guests to the island. After doing so he does not appear again in the story, although Inspector Maine notes it was Narracott who, sensing something seriously amiss, returned to the island as soon as the weather allowed, before he was supposed to, and found the bodies.
Publication history 
The novel was originally published under the title Ten Little Niggers in 1939, retailing for seven shillings and sixpence; the first U.S. edition, published by Dodd, Mead and Company, was priced at two dollars.  All references to "Indian" were originally "Nigger": thus the island was called "Nigger Island" rather than "Indian Island" and the rhyme found by each murder victim was also called Ten Little Niggers rather than Ten Little Indians. Modern printings use the rhyme Ten Little Indians and "Indian Island" for reasons of political and ethnic sensitivity.
The UK serialisation was in 23 parts in the Daily Express from Tuesday, June 6 to Saturday, July 1, 1939. All of the installments carried an illustration by "Prescott" with the first installment having an illustration of Burgh Island in Devon which inspired the setting of the story. This version did not contain any chapter divisions.
For the United States market, the novel was first serialised in the Saturday Evening Post in seven parts from 20 May (Volume 211, Number 47) to 1 July 1939 (Volume 212, Number 1) with illustrations by Henry Raleigh and then published separately in book form in January 1940. Both publications used the less offensive title And Then There Were None. The 1945 motion picture also used this title. In 1946, the play was published under the new title Ten Little Indians (the same title under which it had been performed on Broadway), and in 1964 an American paperback edition also used this title.
British editions continued to use the work's original title until the 1980s and the first British edition to use the alternative title And Then There Were None appeared in 1985 with a reprint of the 1963 Fontana Paperback. Today And Then There Were None is the title most commonly used. The original title (Ten Little Niggers) survives in some foreign-language versions of the novel: for example, the Bulgarian title is Десет малки негърчета. The title Ten Little Negroes is used in a large number of foreign-language versions, for example, the Spanish title is "Diez negritos", the Greek title is Δέκα Μικροί Νέγροι, the Serbian title is Deset malih crnaca, the Romanian title is Zece negri mititei, the French title is Dix petits nègres and the Hungarian title is Tíz kicsi néger, while the Italian title, Dieci piccoli indiani, mirrors the "Indians" title. The Dutch 18th edition of 1994 still used the work's original English title Ten Little Niggers. The 1987 Russian film adaptation has the title Десять негритят (Desyat Negrityat, meaning Ten Little Negroes). In 1999, the Slovak National Theatre showed the play under its original title but then changed the name to A napokon nezostal už nik (And Then There Were None) mid-run. The computer adventure game based on the novel uses "Ten Little Sailor Boys".
- Christie, Agatha (November 1939). Ten Little Niggers. London: Collins Crime Club. OCLC 152375426. Hardback, 256 pp. (First edition)
- Christie, Agatha (January 1940). And Then There Were None. New York: Dodd, Mead. OCLC 1824276. Hardback, 264 pp. (First US edition)
- 1944, Pocket Books, 1944, Paperback, 173 pp (Pocket number 261)
- 1947, Pan Books, 1947, Paperback, 190 pp (Pan number 4)
- 1958, Penguin Books, 1958, Paperback, 201 pp (Penguin number 1256)
- Christie, Agatha (1963). And Then There Were None. London: Fontana. OCLC 12503435. Paperback, 190 pp. (The 1985 reprint was the first UK publication of novel under title And Then There Were None).
- Christie, Agatha (1964). Ten Little Indians. New York: Pocket Books. OCLC 29462459. (first publication of novel as Ten Little Indians)
- 1964, Washington Square Press (paperback – teacher's edition)
- Christie, Agatha (1977). Ten Little Niggers (Greenway edition ed.). London: Collins Crime Club. ISBN 0-00-231835-0. Collected works, Hardback, 252 pp (Except for reprints of the 1963 Fontana paperback, this was one of the last English-language publications of the novel under the title "Ten Little Niggers")
- Christie, Agatha (1980). The Mysterious Affair at Styles; Ten Little Niggers; Dumb Witness. Sydney: Lansdowne Press. ISBN 0-7018-1453-5. Late use of the original title in an Australian edition.
- Christie, Agatha; N J Robat (trans.) (1981). Ten Little Niggers (in Dutch) (Third edition ed.). Culemborg: Educaboek. ISBN 90-11-85153-6. (Late printing of Dutch translation preserving original English title)
- Christie, Agatha (1986). Ten Little Indians. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-55222-8. (Last publication of novel under the title "Ten Little Indians")
Literary significance and reception 
And Then There Were None is one of Agatha Christie's best-known mysteries. Writing for The Times Literary Supplement of 11 November 1939, Maurice Percy Ashley stated, "If her latest story has scarcely any detection in it there is no scarcity of murders." He continued, "There is a certain feeling of monotony inescapable in the regularity of the deaths which is better suited to a serialized newspaper story than a full-length novel. Yet there is an ingenious problem to solve in naming the murderer. It will be an extremely astute reader who guesses correctly." Many other reviews were complimentary; in The New York Times Book Review of 25 February 1940, Isaac Anderson detailed the set-up of the plot up to the point where "the voice" accuses the ten "guests" of their past crimes or sins, which have all resulted in the deaths of other human beings, and then said, "When you read what happens after that you will not believe it, but you will keep on reading, and as one incredible event is followed by another even more incredible you will still keep on reading. The whole thing is utterly impossible and utterly fascinating. It is the most baffling mystery that Agatha Christie has ever written, and if any other writer has ever surpassed it for sheer puzzlement the name escapes our memory. We are referring, of course, to mysteries that have logical explanations, as this one has. It is a tall story, to be sure, but it could have happened."
Such was the quality of Christie's work on this book that many compared it to her 1926 novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. For instance, an unnamed reviewer in the Toronto Daily Star of 16 March 1940 said, "Others have written better mysteries than Agatha Christie, but no one can touch her for ingenious plot and surprise ending. With And Then There Were None... she is at her most ingenious and most surprising... is, indeed, considerably above the standard of her last few works and close to the Roger Ackroyd level."
Other critics laud the use of plot twists and surprise endings. Maurice Richardson wrote a rhapsodic review in The Observer's issue of 5 November 1939 which began, "No wonder Agatha Christie's latest has sent her publishers into a vatic trance. We will refrain, however, from any invidious comparisons with Roger Ackroyd and be content with saying that Ten Little Niggers is one of the very best, most genuinely bewildering Christies yet written. We will also have to refrain from reviewing it thoroughly, as it is so full of shocks that even the mildest revelation would spoil some surprise from somebody, and I am sure that you would rather have your entertainment kept fresh than criticism pure." After stating the set-up of the plot, Richardson concluded, "Story telling and characterisation are right at the top of Mrs. Christie's baleful form. Her plot may be highly artificial, but it is neat, brilliantly cunning, soundly constructed, and free from any of those red-herring false trails which sometimes disfigure her work." 
Robert Barnard, a recent critic, concurred with the reviews, describing the book as "Suspenseful and menacing detective-story-cum-thriller. The closed setting with the succession of deaths is here taken to its logical conclusion, and the dangers of ludicrousness and sheer reader-disbelief are skillfully avoided. Probably the best-known Christie, and justifiably among the most popular."
The original name of the mystery [Ten Little Niggers] has long been abandoned as offensive, and on grounds of political correctness. (The use of the term caused damage to the National Health Service (NHS) career of a British nursing administrator, Pat Bottrill.) Some critics claim Christie's original title and the setting on "Nigger Island" [later changed to "Indian Island", for the reasons stated above] are integral to the work. These aspects of the novel, argues Alison Light, "could be relied upon automatically to conjure up a thrilling 'otherness', a place where revelations about the 'dark side' of the English would be appropriate." Unlike novels such as Heart of Darkness, "Christie's location is both more domesticated and privatised, taking for granted the construction of racial fears woven into psychic life as early as the nursery. If her story suggests how easy it is to play upon such fears, it is also a reminder of how intimately tied they are to sources of pleasure and enjoyment."
And Then There Were None has had more adaptations than any other single work of Agatha Christie. They often used Christie's alternative ending from her 1943 stage play, with the setting often being changed to locations other than an island.
In 1943, Agatha Christie adapted the story for the stage. In the process of doing so, she and the producers agreed that audiences might not flock to such a grim tale and it would not work well dramatically as there would be no one left to tell the tale. Thus, she reworked the ending for Lombard and Vera to be innocent of the crimes of which they were accused, survive, and fall in love with each other. Some of the names were also changed with General Macarthur becoming General McKenzie, perhaps because of the real-life General Douglas MacArthur playing a prominent role in the ongoing World War II. On 14 October 2005, a new version of the play, written by Kevin Elyot and directed by Steven Pimlott, opened at the Gielgud Theatre in London. For this version, Elyot returned to the book version of the story and restored the original ending where Lombard is killed and Vera commits suicide.
There have been several film adaptations of the novel. The first was adapted for the cinema screen in René Clair's successful 1945 US production. The second cinema adaptation of the book was directed by George Pollock in 1965; Pollock had previously handled the four Miss Marple films starring Margaret Rutherford. This film transferred the setting from a remote island to a mountain retreat in Austria. Another variant of And Then There Were None made in 1974 was the first English-language color film version of the novel, directed by Peter Collinson from a screenplay by Harry Alan Towers (writing as Peter Welbeck), who had also co-written the screenplay for the 1965 film. This version was set at a grand hotel in the Iranian desert. A version from the USSR, Desyat' negrityat (Десять негритят "Ten Little Negroes") (1987) was written and directed by Stanislav Govorukhin and is the only cinema adaptation to use the novel's original ending. The most recent film, Ten Little Indians, directed by Alan Birkinshaw, was made in 1989 and is set on safari in the African savannah.
- The uncredited Hindi film adaptation Gumnaam (1965) adds the characteristic "Bollywood" elements of comedy, music and dance to Christie's plot.
- Spoofs include Murder by Death (starring Alec Guinness and Truman Capote).
- The 1999 horror film Storm of the Century shares some literary elements and a similar premise with the novel.
Several variations of the original novel were adapted for television. For instance, there were two different British adaptions, the BBC adaption in 1949 and ITV adaptation in 1959. In addition, there was an American version, Ten Little Indians, directed by Paul Bogart, Philip F. Falcone, Leo Farrenkopf and Dan Zampino, with the screenplay by Philip H. Reisman Jr., that was a truncated TV adaptation of the play. A West German adaptation Zehn kleine Negerlein was directed by Hans Quest for ZDF in 1969. A year later in 1970, Pierre Sabbagh directed Dix petits nègres for the French television adaption. In Cuba, the novel was adapted in 1981 in a black and white six parts series starring Yolanda Ruiz as Vera Claythorne, Miguel Navarro as Philip Lombard and Fernando Robles as Lawrence Wargrave.
The CBS television show Harper's Island is loosely based on the book, however, it is set over 13 weeks, instead of the 1 or 2 in the original, there are 25 characters instead of 10, and there are survivors left at the end.
On 13 November 2010, as part of its Saturday Play series, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a 90-minute adaptation written by Joy Wilkinson. The production was directed by Mary Peate and featured, among others, Geoffrey Whitehead as Justice Wargrave, Lyndsey Marshal as Vera Claythorne, Alex Wyndham as Phillip Lombard, John Rowe as Dr. Armstrong, and Joanna Monro as Emily Brent. In this production, which is extremely faithful to the novel, the rhyme is "Ten Little Soldier Boys". In Cuba, the novel was adapted in the 1970s to the long-running episodes program "8:30 Key" with a big success starring now-deceased actors as Angel Espasande and Parmenia Silva.
Other media 
In 2005, The Adventure Company released the video game Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None, the first in a series of PC games based on Christie novels. In February 2008, it was ported to the Wii console. The identity of the murderer is not that of the killer in the original book. And Then There Were None was released by HarperCollins as a graphic novel adaptation on 30 April 2009, adapted by François Rivière and illustrated by Frank Leclercq.
Related works 
The K.B.S. Productions Inc. film, A Study in Scarlet (1933), predates the publication of Ten Little Indians and follows a strikingly similar plot. Though it is a Sherlock Holmes movie, the movie bears no resemblance to Arthur Conan Doyle's original story of the same name. In this case, the rhyme refers to "Ten Little Fat Boys". The author of the movie's screenplay, Robert Florey, "doubted that [Christie] had seen A Study in Scarlet but he regarded it as a compliment if it had helped inspire her".
The 1934 film The Ninth Guest, the adaptation of the book The Invisible Host, follows a similar plot while predating Christie's book by almost a decade. Guests are invited to a party by a mysterious, unseen host, and are gradually killed off for their perceived crimes.
Several parodies have been made. As early as autumn 1942, "World's Finest Comics" (#7, Fall Issue) had a Superman story by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster called "The Eight Doomed Men" which used Christie's basic structure and even borrowed a number of her victim's backgrounds, although Superman intervened to rescue half of the intended victims and the killer's motivation was changed to specific revenge. Siegel and Shuster anticipated the 1966 film by moving the locale to a mountain cabin and tossed in a Zeppelin-like dirigible - one location not yet used in adaptations of the story. Another parody, the 1976 Broadway musical Something's Afoot, stars Tessie O'Shea as a female sleuth resembling Christie's fictional Miss Marple. Something's Afoot takes place in a remote English estate, where six guests have been invited for the weekend. The guests, as well as three servants and a young man who claims to have wandered innocently onto the estate, are then murdered one by one, several in full view of the audience, with the murderer's surprise identity revealed at the end. For an encore, the murdered cast members perform a song, "I Owe It All to Agatha Christie".
The 1986 slasher film April Fool's Day is a direct descendant of the work, involving a group of college friends who are killed off one by one when they are invited to spend the weekend in a large house located on a private island.
In television, the story was spoofed in the 1966 Get Smart episode "Hoo Done It", which featured guest star Joey Forman as detective Harry Hoo, a parody of Charlie Chan. An episode of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends titled "7 Little Superheroes" is, being a children's show, a murder-free adaptation of the story. The Family Guy episode "And Then There Were Fewer", the Remington Steele episode "Steele Trap" and The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. episode "Bounty Hunters Convention" were other television episodes inspired by the story.
In the 1967 The Avengers adaption "The Superlative Seven" John Steed is invited to a costume party aboard a chartered airplane. The airplane is being flown by remote control. Steed and the six other fancy-dressed guests, who are specialists in various combat styles, eventually land on a deserted island where they are informed that one of them is a trained assassin trying to kill them all. Once the first murder is committed, a character comments, "And then there were six".
International titles 
- Arabic: "ثم لم يبق منهم أحد" (And Then There Were None)
- Bulgarian: "Десет малки негърчета" (Ten Little Niggers)
- Basque: Eta ez zen alerik ere geratu (And Then There Were None)
- Catalan: Deu negrets (Ten Little Negros)
- Czech: Deset malých černoušků (Ten Little Negros)
- Danish: En af os er morderen (One of Us is the Killer)
- Dutch: Tien kleine negertjes (Ten Little Negros)
- Estonian: Kümme väikest neegrit (1994 edition), Ja ei jäänud teda ka (2008 edition)
- Finnish: Eikä yksikään pelastunut (year 1940, And none was saved); Kymmenen pientä neekeripoikaa (year 1968, Ten little negro boys); year 2003 back to original name
- French: Dix Petits Nègres (Ten Little Negros)
- Galician: "Dez negriños" (Ten Little Negros)
- German: Und dann gabs keines mehr (And Then There Were None) (since 2003), 1982 changed into: Zehn kleine Negerlein (Ten Little Negros), first edition in 1944: Letztes Weekend (Last Weekend)
- Greek: Δέκα μικροί νέγροι(Ten little Niggers)
- Hebrew: עשרה כושים קטנים (Ten little negros)
- Hungarian: Tíz kicsi néger (Ten Little Negros)
- Icelandic.: Tíu litlir negrastrákar (Ten Little Negro boys)
- Indonesian: Sepuluh Anak Negro (Ten Little Niggers)
- Italian: Dieci piccoli indiani (Ten Little Indians)
- Japanese: そして誰もいなくなった (And Then There Were None)
- Korean: 그리고 아무도 없었다 (And Then There Were None)
- Latvian: Desmit mazi nēģerēni (Ten Little Niggers)
- Malayalam: Oduvil Aarum Avasheshichilla (No one survived in the end)
- Malaysian: Sepuluh Budak Hitam (Ten Black Boys)
- Norwegian.: Ti små negerbarn (Ten Little Negro children)
- Persian: "ده بچه زنگی" (Ten Negro children)
- Polish: I nie było już nikogo (And Then There Were None), previously Dziesięciu Murzynków (Ten Little Negros)
- Portuguese (European): Convite para a Morte (Invitation to Death), As Dez Figuras Negras (Ten Black Figures)
- Portuguese (Brazilian): E não sobrou nenhum (And Then There Were None), previously O Caso dos Dez Negrinhos (The Case of the Ten Little Negros)
- Romanian: Zece negri mititei (Ten Little Negros)
- Russian: Десять негритят (Ten Little Negros)
- Serbian: Десет Малих Црнаца (Ten Little Negroes)
- Spanish: Y no quedo ninguno" (And Then There Were None)
- Spanish: Diez Negritos (Ten Little Negros)
- Swedish: Och så var de bara en (And Then There Was One), previously Tio små negerpojkar (Ten Little Negro Boys)
- Tamil: "Piragu angu oruvar kooda illai" (And then there were none)
- Turkish: On Küçük Zenci (Ten Little Negros)
- Urdu: اور پھر کوئی بی نہیں رہا! (And Then There Were None)
- Chinese: "无人生还" （No One Survived）
See also 
- And Then There Were None – 1943 play written by Agatha Christie
- Film,television & game adaptations
- And Then There Were None – 1945 American film produced & directed by René Clair
- Ten Little Niggers – 1949 BBC television production (IMDb)
- Ten Little Niggers – 1959 ITV television production (IMDb)
- Ten Little Indians – 1959 NBC television production (IMDb)
- Ten Little Indians – 1965 British film produced by Harry Alan Towers
- Gumnaam – 1965 Bollywood movie
- Zehn kleine Negerlein – 1969 West German television production (IMDb)
- 5 bambole per la luna d'agosto – 1970 Italian movie directed by Mario Bava
- And Then There Were None – 1974 English language film produced by Harry Alan Towers
- Desyat Negrityat – 1987 Russian film produced & directed by Stanislav Govorukhin
- Ten Little Indians – 1989 British film produced by Harry Alan Towers.
- And Then There Were None directed by Hubert Wentland
- And Then There Was Shawn, the seventeenth episode of the fifth season of Boy Meets World, is a parody of And Then There Were None
- Harper's Island - a 13 episode mini-series with the same premise
- Identity - a 2003 horror film inspired by the story
- Umineko no Naku Koro Ni and its sequel Umineko Chiru, two Japanese visual novels largely borrowing the setting for deconstructing of the mystery genre
- Devil - a 2010 film written by M. Night Shyamalan adapts this story's basic structure and final plot twist to the confines of an elevator
- Game - a 2011 Bollywood thriller inspired by the story
- And Then There Were Fewer, the first episode of the ninth season of Family Guy, is based on the same premise of guests being invited to a remote manor (though they are trapped by a storm) then slowly being murdered
Television tributes 
CSI:Crime Scene Investigation based an episode of the show's second season under the same name focusing on a gang of armed robbers stealing from casinos outside the Las Vegas metropolitan area with each criminal killing a member of the gang to keep more of the proceeds.
- "Review of Ten Little Indians". The Observer. 1939-11-05. p. 6.
- Peers, C; Spurrier A & Sturgeon J (1999). Collins Crime Club – A checklist of First Editions (2nd ed.). Dragonby Press. p. 15. ISBN 1-871122-13-9.
- Pendergast, Bruce (2004). Everyman's Guide To The Mysteries Of Agatha Christie. Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing. p. 393. ISBN 1-4120-2304-1.
- "American Tribute to Agatha Christie – The Classic Years: 1940–1944". Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 24 November 2008.
- Davies, Helen; Marjorie Dorfman, Mary Fons, Deborah Hawkins, Martin Hintz, Linnea Lundgren, David Priess, Julia Clark Robinson, Paul Seaburn, Heidi Stevens, and Steve Theunissen (14 September 2007). "21 Best-Selling Books of All Time". Editors of Publications International, Ltd. Archived from the original on 7 April 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2009.
- Poole S & Wagstaff V (2004). Agatha Christie: A Reader's Companion. London: Aurum Press. pp. 160–67. ISBN 1-84513-015-4. Retrieved 25 November 2008.
- This line is sometimes replaced by One got left behind and then there were seven.
- Note: In some versions the ninth verse reads Two little Soldier boys playing with a gun / One shot the other and then there was One.
- "Ten Little Indians Study Guide". pp. 1–38. Retrieved 9 April 2009.
- Holdings at the British Library (Newspapers – Colindale). Shelfmark: NPL LON LD3 and NPL LON MLD3.
- British National Bibliography for 1985. British Library. 1986. ISBN 0-7123-1035-5
- ""Zece negri mititei" si "Crima din Orient Express", azi cu "Adevarul"". Adevarul.ro. 2010-01-06. Retrieved 2012-04-16.
- "Dix petits nègres, nouvelle édition: Livres: Agatha Christie". Amazon.fr. Retrieved 2012-04-16.
- British National Bibliography British Library. 1986. ISBN 0-7123-1035-5
- Whitaker's Cumulative Book List for 1977. J. Whitaker and Sons Ltd. 1978. ISBN 0-85021-105-0
- The Times Literary Supplement 11 November 1939 (p. 658)
- The New York Times Book Review, 25 February 1940 (p. 15)
- Toronto Daily Star 16 March 1940 (p. 28)
- Barnard, Robert. A Talent to Deceive – an appreciation of Agatha Christie – Revised edition (p. 206). Fontana Books, 1990; ISBN 0-00-637474-3
- Light, Alison. Forever England: Femininity, Literature, and Conservatism Between the Wars. Routledge, 1991. (p. 99); ISBN 0-415-01661-4
- Taves, Brian. Robert Florey, the French Expressionist. New Jersey: Scarecrow Press, 1987, p. 152; ISBN 0-8108-1929-5
- Taves (1987), p. 153
- The Avengers - The Superlative Seven at the Internet Movie Database